Google Mum

photo credit: SanforaQ8 via photopin cc

photo credit: SanforaQ8 via photopin cc

So, there’s this family right. Mum, Dad, teenage son.

Blue lips

And they’re having dinner one night when the son casually mentions that time his lips went like, you know, blue.

And the mother, who’s mid-forkful of mac and cheese, goes, “WHAT!!!!”

And the son, who’s spooning food onto his plate goes … “Oh, I didn’t tell you. Yeah, me and (friend who shall remain nameless) decided it would be fun to put blue food colouring in our juice and, well, like my lips went blue; like a Smurf right.”

And the mother, who’s just so relieved that her darling, precious only child hasn’t suffered hypothermia, or taken some terrible drug (not saying that blue food colouring isn’t terrible, just not quite in the same league as Ecstasy or meth, or whatever).

And the kid goes, “yeah, like I told Dad cos he might check my browser history and …”

The mother is confused. “Why would that be a problem?”

Green poo

“Well” says the son, “a couple of days later I was like, pooing green and like … WOW!”

And the mother is more bewildered.

“So I did a search to find out why it was green.”

“You searched the internet for ‘green shit’?”

“No, I Googled ‘why is my poo green?’ And I told Dad cos I didn’t want him to think I’m like pervy or anything.”

By now, the mother has given up any attempt to eat and is not-very silently weeping with laughter.

“And what did Google say?” She is trying really hard to act as if conversations about unnaturally tinted excrement happen in all families.

“Too much spinach, blue food colouring or intestinal parasites.”

The son has now finished dinner and is nonchalantly loading the dishwasher.

“I knew I hadn’t been eating spinach, and I’m really glad it was the food colouring. It said you treat intestinal parasites with a ‘simple colon cleanse.’ That’s putting stuff up your bum isn’t it?” By now he’s wandering off to plug himself back into his computer.

The serious reflection bit

Afterwards, the mother finds herself thinking about the conversation. She has been a very hands-on mother; parenting solo quite a lot while her partner travels on business. She has answered her son’s questions about sex, Santa Claus and how Grandad got his tractor home from the place he bought it. She has explained blow-jobs and why aeroplanes look like they’re going fast from the ground but don’t feel fast when you’re on them. Sometimes she has felt inadequate to answer the questions and other times she’s been exhausted by the sheer inquisitiveness of her child. But now she reflects on being replaced with Google, and is glad that she has been her son’s “go to” source of information for so long. She will miss the left-field questions that her son has thrown her, and hopes that occasionally he will still come to her for guidance.

Though she has to admit, she’d never have offered blue food colouring as a cause of green poo.

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abstracting the image

Under repair: trampoline springs hanging around waiting for a new mat. Shot with iphone 4 and edited with Avery Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie 2103

Under repair: trampoline springs hanging around waiting for a new mat. Shot with iphone 4 and edited with Avery Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie 2103

The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.
John Berger, Ways of Seeing

Ways of Seeing John Berger’s 1972 book and TV series – took ideas earlier expounded by Walter Benjamin in a 1936 essay, about the ways that mechanical reproduction of images challenges the authority of art and viewers’ relationships to it.

These days image (and sound) reproduction are digital and the opportunities for everyone to create, modify and share images seem infinite. Within my iPhone and iPad there is the capacity to fundamentally change “reality” – whether it’s by cropping and recolouring trampoline springs, or using novelty camera apps to photograph other everyday objects. The results are abstractions – images from which a literal relationship with the physical world has been removed and replaced with a complexity of mathematical algorithms.

Light tunnel effect on medalion. Shot with Photo Booth on iPad, edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie 2013

Light tunnel effect on medalion. Shot with Photo Booth on iPad, edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie 2013.

Book cover shot with kaleidescope effect, iPad Photo Booth. Edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie 2013.

Book cover shot with kaleidescope effect, iPad Photo Booth. Edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie 2013.

All in a pickle. Shot on iPhone4, edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.

All in a pickle. Shot on iPhone4, edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie 2013

Getting pickled. Shot on iPhone4, edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie, 2013

Getting pickled. Shot on iPhone4, edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie, 2013

Photo Booth kaleidescope effect on necklace. Edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie 2013

Photo Booth kaleidescope effect on necklace. Edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor. Su Leslie 2013

It’s Challenger’s Choice for Sally’s Phoneography theme at Lens and Pens by Sally this week, and I’ve chosen abstraction. Here are some other posts you might be interested in:

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/phoneography-evolution-of-and-orchid/

http://blogagaini.com/2013/10/28/phoneography-challenge-portrait/

http://stevemcp2002.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/phoneography-challenge-night-photography/comment-page-1/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/phoneography-challenge-abstract-river-walk/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/phoneography-challenge-sculpture-in-the-round/

http://firebonnet.com/2013/10/28/phoneography-challenge-abstracted-umbrellas/

http://ohmsweetohmdotme.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/phoneograhy-challenge-architecture-more-bridge/

http://sfchapman.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/phoneography-challenge-challengers-choice-architecture/

 

Wordless Wednesday: ruling the roost

ruling the roost

Sometimes words aren’t necessary; other times, I just don’t have any. Whatever the reason, here are some Wordless Wednesday posts to enjoy.

http://cherylandrews.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/wordless-wednesday-23-october-2013/

http://newtoreno.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/ww-aspen-leaf/

http://fivedegreesofchaos.com/2013/10/30/wordless-wednesday-sienna-swimming/

http://tchistorygal.com/2013/10/24/wordless-wednesday-pet-games/

http://davidoakesimages.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/wordless-wednesday-rain-pending/

Travel theme: reading the stones

Three weeks of glorious autumn in the UK and my photo album is bursting with shots that would fulfill Ailsa’s Travel Theme brief this week.

Most of my time was spent in Scotland and the Northeast of England; much of it doing family history research.

That meant lots of wandering around cemeteries and churchyards in search of ancestors’ headstones. I found a few – including a couple in tiny, isolated places – and felt a sense of connectedness to my past that I really didn’t expect.

I also noticed that Scottish headstones (or perhaps just the Lowland Presbyterian headstones from the eras I was interested in) are quite different to those I’m used to seeing in New Zealand cemeteries. Perhaps because there are more “flavours” of Christianity in NZ, and our earliest headstones date from Victorian times, they are often much more elaborate and include angels, cherubs, and crosses. Those I saw in Fife, Perthshire and Edinburgh were Church of Scotland (or Free Church) and even those from the 19th century were often very plain, and usually carved of sandstone. Many have no epitaph, and in fact, very little information about those interred beneath. The most elaborate, and the largest, were in Canongate Kirkyard in Edinburgh, but from reading them, I think that is because they belonged to wealthier, more prominent citizens than those buried in the smaller, often rural churchyards.

I found myself photographing them, singly and in clusters. Not because they belonged to my past, but because I found a stark beauty in the jumbles of crooked, fallen and weathered stones in Auchtermuchty, Kinglassie, Dysart, Kirkmichael, Abbotshall and Canongate on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Headstone, Auchtermuchty churchyard. Su Leslie 2013

Headstone, Auchtermuchty churchyard. © Su Leslie 2013

The churchyard, Auchtermuchty. © Su Leslie 2013

The churchyard, Auchtermuchty. © Su Leslie 2013

Kinglassie cemetery. © Su Leslie 2013

Kinglassie cemetery. © Su Leslie 2013

Canongate Kirkyard, Edinburgh. © Su Leslie 2013

Canongate Kirkyard, Edinburgh. © Su Leslie 2013

Headstone, Canongate Kirkyard. © Su Leslie 2013

Headstone, Canongate Kirkyard. © Su Leslie 2013

10 Things Tuesday: Auckland’s markets

When I was a child growing up in Auckland, markets were places to buy incense, tie-dye and cheap jewellery. I don’t remember any particular culture of food market – certainly not like the “farmers’ markets” which seem to have popped up in every suburb and town recently. While I’m not sure how many of these are genuine farmers’ markets, they do undoubtedly sell some fresh and very tasty food.

I had such fun photographing the various markets I visited in the UK, I decided to try the same thing in Auckland this last weekend. I think I may have chosen the wrong ones (convenience rather than quality), but I still managed to get 10 shots I quite like.

taka market4

Takapuna Market flower stall.

taka market1

Takapuna Market, flower stall.

taka market5

On a bric a brac stall, Takapuna Market.

taka market3

On a bric a brac stall, Takapuna Market.

Homemade preserves, Takapuna Market.

Homemade preserves, Takapuna Market.

Yams, La Cigalle Market.

Yams, La Cigalle Market.

Olives and feta, La Cigalle Market.

Olives and feta, La Cigalle Market.

Fresh baklava; La Cigale, Market.

Fresh baklava; La Cigale, Market.

Food vendors, Glenfield Night Market.

Food vendors, Glenfield Night Market.

Food vendors, Glenfield Night Market.

Food vendors, Glenfield Night Market.

What’s on my horizon?

An Auckland horizon; Rangitoto  Island - flanked by two works by sculptor Karen Walters. © Su Leslie, 2010.

An Auckland horizon; Rangitoto Island framed by two works by sculptor Karen Walters, exhibited at NZ Sculpture onShore, 2010.  © Su Leslie, 2010.

This Week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge theme is “horizon.”

For an Aucklander, Rangitoto is the inevitable presence on our horizon. A roughly circular volcanic cone that sits in the Hauraki Gulf, it is visible from all over the city. It is the newest of the 60-odd volcanoes that have shaped Auckland (being only about 600 years old), and is a constant reminder of the fragile position we occupy atop an immense geological fun-fair.

So, in one sense offering Rangitoto as an image of horizon is a cliche.But I have chosen this photo because it is about more than a beautiful and ever-present natural vista – it is also an image that captures a little of my personal horizon.

The sculptures that frame Auckland’s most iconic horizon were exhibited at NZ Sculpture onShore, a biennial exhibition of sculptures by many of the country’s leading – and emerging – artists, which raises funds for Women’s Refuge in New Zealand. The exhibition is held at Fort Takapuna, overlooking the Gulf, and with Rangitoto as its backdrop.

NZ Sculpture onShore is organised by a passionate and committed group of volunteers, some of whom have been involved with the exhibition since its inception in 1994. This year, I have joined the group, as both a Trustee of the fund-raising parent body, and as a member of the Board of NZ Sculpture onShore Ltd. Being part of the largest, and one of the most prestigious, outdoor art exhibitions in the country is exciting – but even better is knowing that the exhibition makes a significant financial contribution to the work of Women’s Refuge – over NZ$ 1.3million since its inception.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Sculpture onShore, and it is our intention to make this 10th exhibition the best yet. That’s what’s on my personal horizon.